SWT VALLI HI is the moment! Not only is she this incredibly talented musician who refuses to box herself in, genre-wise, but she’s also someone who time and time again uses her voice to make the music industry a better, more inclusive, safer space. SWT VALLI HI is an independent artist, and you guys know we are all about lifting independent artists up, as they’re doing something so incredible without the push of a record label.
We recently got to chat with SWT VALLI HI about all things music, about her single ‘Telescope,’ and all about not boxing herself in!
Being LA-based of course has its pros and cons. What do you as an artist love the most about being in the city? Do you feel like it’s easiest to create in a city where everyone seems to be doing just that in some capacity?
The weather! You can’t beat it – but just like most big cities, the creative space is forever changing with people coming in and out. LA is more relaxed than most cities which can be good and can be bad. If you want to write and record LA is the place but for other creative industries not so much. It’s become a home base for influencers recently so the vibe is changing again.
At the same time, it can also feel a bit too noisy for no reason so regular getaways are really important so one person’s creative journey is inspired rather than forced.
You directed the visuals yourself for your track ‘Over It,’ tell us about that experience? It was a really fantastic experience! Directing has always been something that I’ve been so interested in doing more of so I had a wonderful time. The experience gave me a chance to continue a story behind the lyrics I wrote and explore my music in a different way. It was such an interesting challenge transforming the song into a visual aesthetic and seeing my track visually spring to life – certainly something I will do more of!
When you look at the lyrics to a track like ‘Over It,’ which are so deeply personal, do you go back to that mindset whenever you sing the track? A little, I think all music draws you back to the time when you created or first listened to it. At the same time, lyric meanings can change for myself depending on one’s situation which is one of the most wonderful things about all art in my opinion!
Speaking of another hit track, ‘Telescope’ is all about knowing your worth. What has the overall fan reaction been like to a song with such an uplifting message? Good! Some fans messaged me letting me know it helped them get through a breakup and bullying. I think after the 18 months we’ve all had – positivity is certainly something that has felt in short supply at times – and here is to more of those feelings!
We want to know all about the visuals for that track (‘Telescope’). What was your vision for them? How long did it take to put everything together? I had a vision of documentation of everyday lifestyle footage mixed with performance shots. Telescope, for me, was much more about the “atmosphere” and I was wanted to try and convey the vibrancy and variety that life brings. It took quite a long time to get everything together but just like ‘Over It,’ it was such a worthwhile experience.
Navigating the music industry can be tricky, and it can be a dark place at times. Your track ‘Telescope,’ as we talked about earlier, deals with rising above the haters. How do you do that in your day-to-day life?
Focusing on my bubble, friends and family. I think sticking to my process is really important: healthy eating, meditation and prayer are as important as that long-awaited catch-up with a friend!
You have been described as “genre-defying.” Why do you think it’s so important not to box your sound in with one genre? Do you think when that happens, it stifles creativity? I think it’s important to not put too much weight on any labels – positive, negative or otherwise. Life and music can be stifling if you box yourself or if you focus on trying to break out of a particular genre as that can often lead to the opposite. I think creativity is stifled by a lack of new experiences and learning – and if I lean on that I find that the rest follows suit.
We know you decided to start EIGHTEEN in 2018, tell us about that decision and why it felt necessary at the moment? To me, it was a moment for me to take charge of certain elements of my life and see where that journey leads. Before starting Eighteen, just like many others I was dependent on a big company or executive to make decisions on my behalf! Now I am the boardroom, no longer left in the dark and told whatever. There’s a point we have to grab on to our destiny I think a lot of people – creative or otherwise – reach a point where they may fantasize with being able to take charge of their destiny but don’t talk about it. Reality is what you make of it!
What can we expect next? What does the rest of 2021 look like for you? Family and vacation! It’s time for a well-earned rest before we hit the ground running hard in 2022!
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